Ah, the pièce de résistance of the Christmas table. Ever since I found about this magnificent dessert, I longed to make one.
A bûche de noël is a chocolate roulade (a sponge cake, such as that used to make a Swiss/jelly roll). I used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, of the November/December 2000 issue. It has many steps, but if you’re willing to take the time, it is a beautiful dessert, which can be used as a centerpiece on your Christmas table.
Don’t worry if the cake cracks a little while you’re rolling it up–it will be covered by the ganache, which can be made to resemble tree bark by running a fork through it. Cut off the ends of the sponge cake to add stumps to your log, and sprinkle with powdered sugar for snow!
A dessert that requires such a significant investment of time and energy should be as delicious as it is visually impressive, and this recipe fits the bill. This dessert proved very popular with my family, and disappeared quickly. I hope to make it a tradition.